When breastfeeding stops and your baby is ready to move on to solids, you begin to pine for those good old days when “preparing” a meal for your kid was as easy as placing him or her gently on your bosom.
Unfortunately, breast milk is not enough anymore and soon enough, baby is ready for fruits and vegetables, and very soon after that, meat. The choice then becomes: buy food in a jar or prepare it yourself. While most prefer making baby food themselves, the problem is, in many households where both parents are working, cooking healthy and ideally organic meats and vegetables requires time that most don’t have.
Freezing Food – One Solid Solution to the “Never Enough Time” Problem
I’ve found that freezing baby food saves a lot of time. Instead of spending an hour or more every day preparing several baby meals, the existence of your freezer allows you to cook a big pile of vegetables and some fruits once or twice a week, and you always have a ready meal that does not come out of a jar. Here’s how.
These are 7 easy steps to freezing baby food that will guide you through the process. You can use it as a check list until you become a pro at doing it:
1. Weekend comes and you have enough time. Use baby’s nap time to cook apples, potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, broccoli, rice, meat. Cook until completely soft.
2. You can blend/mash the cooked food separately, or you can mix ingredients together. For example, carrots and potatoes makes a nice combination. Or, use say meat and broccoli. You can also add bananas to cooked apples. Your creativity might depend on how your child is accepting new tastes and textures.
3. Separate baby’s meals into single serving-size portions. A serving size will vary depending on the child’s age, size, needs, etc, but it is usually between 2 and 4 tablespoons. A cool way to separate portions is to place the mashed food into ice cube trays and freeze it that way. Each single-serving-size meal should be kept in a separate freezer bag. Make sure there’s NO AIR inside the bags.
4. Don’t add salt or sugar to baby food.
5. Label all freezer bags properly. It is essential to note what’s inside the bag and date you froze it. Make sure you use freezer labels that don’t come off. If they do, you won’t know when you put the food in the freezer, and you won’t know whether it’s safe for your baby anymore.
6. Sunday night comes – take several baby meals out of your freezer and place them inside the refrigerator. You need to thaw your baby’s food properly, and properly is NOT at room temperature. Try to avoid microwaves as well. The best way to thaw your baby’s food is in the fridge, overnight.
7. Work day comes and your babysitter has ready meals for your baby. So do you, when you come home from work. Warm the food evenly by stirring it, and don’t overheat it; you don’t want your baby to burn her tongue.
Of course, you’d save more time if you were buying ready made baby food. However, the importance of free time pales in comparison if your baby’s healthy nutrition has to suffer. Though most frozen baby food is advertised as having no chemicals, preservatives, additives, salt, sugar, etc., it is truly impossible to know. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather be sure than be sorry. I want to be sure what my baby is eating, at least right now.
Special Thanks to My Guest Writer.
Ana Brady is a working mom of two, and a member of a creative group that recently finished their http://freezerlabels.net/ project. Ana likes to write about nutrition, healthy living, family life, and similar topics. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Stacy Brunner from Flickr